In fact, I found the touch screen to be more accurate and faster than a touchpad. It felt natural to just point to what I wanted to do -- and do it. While my hand did leave the keyboard, it didn't travel any further than it would for a mouse. It took me a lot less time to become accustomed to the touch display than it did to touchpads when I started using those.
PG: Maybe it comes down to a matter of personal taste. When I use a touchpad, my hands don't leave the keyboard; the touchpad is right there where my fingers naturally linger. Having to reach out, tap something, and then return my hand to the keyboard takes too much time and breaks my concentration.
And there's the gunk factor as well. With touch, you're putting oils and fingerprints on the screen that make it harder to read.
BK: I concede the problem of oils and fingerprints. I talked to a couple of vendors about that during CES, and the best answer I got was a rather sheepish "We're working on it." On the other hand, I only felt the need to clean the screen of my Acer Aspire S7 once during four days of very intense use, so the problem isn't as bad as all that.
PG: So far we've been discussing touch screens on notebooks and hybrid devices. On desktops, things get worse. When you use a desktop, the screen is at arm's length. You're forced to lean forward, reach and glide your finger across the screen while it's an arm's length away from you. It's awkward, difficult to do, and just plain painful. The pain you'll experience if you do this enough even has a name: gorilla arm.
BK: I am not going to disagree with you about desktops. If you're using your desktop for office work, there is absolutely no reason for a touch screen.
The only thing I will point out is that many of the touch-screen desktops coming out are all-in-ones that are pointed at a consumer audience, and a lot of the applications being presented for those machines are kid-friendly stuff, such as painting apps, games where kids can touch and move objects, and so on. But unless you're a parent, an educator or a creative artist who wants to literally "draw" onscreen, I agree that touch screens are not really useful for desktop systems.
You'll find that you'll pay a $100 premium for the touch screen. Preston Gralla
PG: I'm glad to see that we agree about touch on desktops -- it's pointless and a non-starter. But if you find it easier to use touch on a laptop, then by all means you should do it.